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The Peloponnesian Challenge

The Peloponnesian challenge logo


On a relaxed conversation between two friends and business parnters in 2016, the CEO and owner of Discover Peloponnese and Arcas Travel Services, Christos, challenged his friend Ali, CEO of Artisan Travel from UK, to an alternative and unique race. A race all around of Peloponnese on two much different vehicles.

Sailing in Peloponnese
Team Discover Peloponnese

Christos, an avid F18 catamaran sailor, always wanted to sail around his birthplace, Peloponnese with his small racing boat. Ali, an andoubtely crazy cyclist, had left an open case when 30 years ago had cycled from Englad to Greece to an 1 month journey but his trip ended just before cycling the Peloponnese peninsula. His dream was left incomplete. So after some glasses of wine and some manly statements, Christos and Ali agreed to race each other: Christos and his crew with the F18 catamaran versus Ali and his road cycling team on the full round of the Peloponnese.  And so a pioneering idea was born…

The ultimate purpose of this race was the creation of a documentary in order to promote Peloponnese as a tourism destination. To show to the public the rich natural, historical and cultural resources of the Peloponnese through the prism of athletics. The race was organized by DiscoverPeloponnese in cooperation with the Peloponnese Tourism Organization. Numerours local media covered the event with live coverage, interviews and daily updates on tv, radio and web.

Cycling in Peloponnese
Team Artisan Travel UK

Thus, on 11 September 2015 with starting point Ancient Olympia, Christos with his catamaran and his crew and Ali with his bicycle and his team began their adventure. The athletes passed through many points of high cultural, natural and historical interest such as Katakolo, Aigio, Ancient Epidaurus, Porto Heli, Astros, Monemvasia, Gytheio, Areopoli, Koroni and revealed many fascinating corners of Peloponnese. In sports level, the demands of the race were very high as both cyclists and sailors had to cover long distance dealing with unprectitable weather conditions. Cyclists covered 1.318 km with a total climbing of 17000m and sailors 504 nautical miles. However for both teams confronting the unpredictable liquid element, the roughterrain, the weather conditions and the unexpected twists was the biggest challenge.

Peloponnese map
The Peloponnesian Challenge map


The sailors’ team Discover Peloponnese didn't start the race well as since day 1 they had to deal with a significant damage to the catamaran, The rudder failed and snapped causing a majestic cupsize under the bridge of Rio-Antirio and big delays for repairs. The cycling Artisan Travel Company although they had a strong start they had to face the heat during midday riding but the worse was yet to come. On Day 4, half of the cyclists took a wrong turn, got lost and were caught in the darkness of the night. Ali the leader, hit a curb and crashed unfortunately ending up with a broken leg, knocked out of the race. Although the rest of the team kept going the sailors had managed to keep up!

Sailing Peloponnese
Team Discover Peloponnese under Rio bridge

The highlight for both teams was definitely the final day. The weather conditions changed rapidly resulting in a dramatic finish. The sailors had to confront a strong thunderstorm and extrem wind and basically sailed on survival mode up to the finish line. Cupsizes, sea sickness and damages were all in the final day's menu. The cycling team had to ride through heavy rain and overcome the tiredness but thankfully managed to finish without major issues.

Sailing Peloponnese sunset
The sunset in Peloponnese

After 10 days of extreme effort both teams completed successfully and safely this amazing race. Smiles and satisfaction for all participants and support crew who gave their 100% to make this event come true. Trully an unforgettable experience for everyone on the Peloponnesian field. From the organizational scope, the event was one of the most demanding projects Discover Peloponnese and Arcas Travel Services have ever organized dur to the unpredictable factor. The outcome was more than succesful with a superb documentray to be created!


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